Enduring Power of Attorney
2 minute read
What is an EPA?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is an important legal document in which you nominate one or more individuals that you trust to manage your affairs in the event you are unable to do so yourself.
Why do I need an EPA?
Loss of mental capacity as a result of an injury or illness can affect anyone, often without warning. Being proactive in appointing attorneys may save you and your family unnecessary anguish and certainty about how decisions are to be made. An EPA provides you with the opportunity to decide who your attorneys will be, what powers they will have and when those powers will commence.
Without an EPA, no one is legally entitled to act on your behalf for financial decisions. In this case, your family or friends will be required to apply to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal in your state to be appointed as your attorney. This can become an expensive, time-consuming and stressful process.
Who should I appoint as an Attorney?
It is important to choose someone that you trust and who understands your wishes. Your attorney must be over 18 years of age and should not be someone paid to take care of you, although they may receive a carer’s pension from the government. It is also recommended that you appoint more than one attorney or at least have a reserve attorney.
What powers and responsibilities does an EPA have?
A financial attorney will be responsible for your financial decisions such as the sale of your assets and the investment of your income. An attorney acting on behalf of your financial matters must keep records of all transactions and dealings and must avoid any conflicts between their interests and your own. A personal attorney can make decisions about your education, your home and day-to-day issues such as healthcare.
All attorneys have an obligation to act with honesty and care, consider your views and wishes, and consider your existing relationships and values. Your attorney’s power in relation to your health matters only begins if or when you become incapable of making your own decisions. For financial matters, you can elect when you wish your attorney's power to begin, whether immediately or upon your losing capacity.
If you are a Queensland resident and wish to appoint someone to assist a person who has diminished capacity to make decisions for themselves, you can do this by making an application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Shine Lawyers have Wills and Estates Law experts who can assist with this process.
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